Disturbances

Different disturbances such as hurricanes, wild fires, and landslides have devastating effects on plant populations

Figure 9 A butterfly of the genus Melanargia and a solitary bee of the genus Halictus visiting a composite flower. Flower visitation and pollination is a key process in the life cycle of most flowering plants. Photograph courtesy of Javi Losarcos.

and entire plant communities (Figure 10). The effects of disturbances on plant traits are many and depend on the species and the spatiotemporal scale considered. The randomness or periodicity of such events and the time since last disturbance are major ecological and evolutionary forces in disturbance-prone ecosystems. One of the direct effects of disturbances is that they create habitat heterogeneity at large spatiotemporal scales, consisting of nonaffected remnant vegetated patches and affected patches with different disturbance histories. For many plants, such patch assemblages represent a gradient of habitat types and environmental and physical conditions that altogether influence plant performance and overall population dynamics.

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